In Pietrasanta, also knows as the “little Athens” of Versilia, near Michelangelo’s famous marble quarries, the Paradis Restaurant is the Wunderkammer of Parisian chef Alain Cirelli, where the art of sculpture meets the excellence of gourmet farm-to-table.
Imagine entering a super chic art gallery, surrounded by white plaster casts and designer furnishings, where you can taste the best local products grown on a completely organic farm. This is the dream that chef Alain Cirelli, entrepreneur and authentic art lover, has turned into reality by inaugurating the Paradis Pietrasanta Restaurant in 2021, inside the homonymous boutique hotel in Piazza Crispi.
Pietrasanta, with its alleys dotted with art galleries and boutiques, the mild climate all year round and the naturalistic views of rare beauty, is a real gem. Artists of the caliber of Mirò, Pomodoro, Mitoraj and Botero have worked and lived here and some of the most important masterpieces in the world have been sculpted in its artisanal laboratories. Its magnetic charm also conquered Alain who, after twenty years of frequenting these places, decided to move here to start a new chapter in his life.
I learned to cook by watching my grandmother; we would pick vegetables in the home garden and she would magically transform them into Tuscan delicious dishes. The Paradis project takes me back in time to those emotions.
(Alessio Bachini, Executive Chef)
The Paradis project, as its demiurge likes to tell, was created “by itself” through fortuitous coincidences and happy intuitions that led to the birth of the Paradis Hotel, a splendid boutique hotel with lounge bar that houses also the Paradis Restaurant and, just outside the historic centre of Pietrasanta, the Paradis Agricole, an organic agricultural estate with b&b. The interior design, curated by the French studio Point 3 Architecture in collaboration with Startt Architettura of Rome, has transformed the large room into a spectacular “sculpture laboratory” on whose wooden shelves dozens of plaster casts of the most diverse shapes are displayed.
Huge hands, angelic faces, religious icons and portraits of illustrious characters welcome guests to the Paradis paying homage to the city’s centennial tradition, while, on the other side, stands out the bar counter which recalls the motifs of the neoclassical columns. The furnishing includes tables in rough bardiglio (a kind of marble), specially designed for the restaurant, seats in Casamance fabric as well as original sofas in warm gray velvet that make the environment truly welcoming. The whole is completed by an elegantly essential mise en place that sets the scene for the wonderful recipes prepared with the fresh products of Paradis Agricole.
Alain Cirelli, who boasts important experiences in the major French and Italian starred restaurants, is in charge of the kitchen that is entrusted to the resident chef Alessio Bachini. From homemade pasta to seasonal vegetables selected every day by the Agricole, the farmhouse of Paradis, each dish is a creative process that combines the farm-to-table concept with the elegance of the gourmet cuisine.
From very fresh fish such as marinated amberjack with chicory salad, mandarin jelly, ginger and spelt flakes to meat specialties such as guinea fowl breast served with crispy leg and cream of carrots, cabbage and Borettane onions to first courses such as creamed risotto with cauliflower, prawns and mullet roe or the tasty homemade ravioli.
The wine list, curated by the sommelier Fabrizio Alari favors the fruits of the territory, as well as the top labels from the other Italian regions, mainly looking for small excellent wineries such as Brunello di Vigna Montosoli or the extraordinary whites of the Montauto estate such as its award-winning Sauvignon Blanc.
Upon request, the chef creates a special tasting menu with paired wines aimed at the discovery of the finest yet authentic flavors of this magnificent territory.
Michelangelo’s favorite marble quarry is located a few minutes from Pietrasanta, to be precise in Seravezza on Monte Altissimo. The quarry, from which comes a very precious marble which he defined as “similar to sugar” due to its material and chromatic qualities, is still active and its long history has since inspired many artists, helping to elevate Pietrasanta among the world’s “capitals” of sculpture.
Paradis Pietrasanta Restaurant
Piazza Francesco Crispi 11
55045 Pietrasanta, Lucca
Tel. +39 058 41811031
Starters: 13 — 28 euro
First courses: 14 — 20 euro
Main courses: 15 — 30 euro
Tasting menu: 60 euro (wine not included)